Skip to main content

Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

See other formats

ALEXANDER,   VON  HUMBOLDT.                118
him, for ^ a few weeks, to Paris, whence he visited
London, in order to accompany his youngest daughter,
Gabrielc, thither, who had been married to the Prus-
sian ambassador. Von Billow, and had hitherto re-
mained in Berlin. His wife and eldest daughter
accompanied him, with the intention of visiting Gas-
tehx on their return, while Alexander, who at first
intended to proceed to Paris with his brother, was
detained in Berlin by important affairs. His public
lectures on physical geography had excited the uni-
versal wish that he woxild reprint them for the general
public, and thereby make them, available for such
students, whose distance from Berlin had precluded
them from hearing the famed lecturer. This wish
had become an universal one in Germany, and was
urged most pressingly in all the public journals. At
last, Alexander von Humboldt consented to prepare
his lectures for publication, under the comprehensive
title, " Kpsmos/*
But this great work was first interrupted, then de-
layed for several years; and, " Kosmos/" enriched with
new views and experiences, was not given to the
world until years after.
Humboldt had long secretly cherished the plan of
a j ourney to Asia. The Russian minister, Romanzow,
had offered him. an expedition to Thibet, in 1812,
which, as we have before stated, was prevented by the
French campaign against Russia. When Humboldt
met the king of Prussia at Aix4a-Ghapelle, in No-
vember, 1818, his favourite plan of exploring the high-
lands of central Asia, and, if possible, the gigantic
mountains of India, those legendary districts pro-
mising rich fruits for scientific research, had induced
the king to offer him a sum of 12,000 thalers annu-
ally, for the duration of the expedition. The plan was
not executed at the time, but by no means abandoned.
The Emperor of Russia had again agitated the
subject in 1827, at the time when Alexander von
Humboldt was busy with his public lectures. The
Emperor Nicholas made him the magnificent offer